80% of poker players probably rate themselves in the top 20%. For readers who are, shall we say, mathematically challenged, 80 is much bigger than 20 which means many of us are wrong.

But not all of us. In fact, some people – for example, me – are so inordinately amazing that we have to periodically deploy stupid techniques on purpose just to keep a low profile: to escape the elaborate super-stardom that’s hard to avoid when you’re this damn good at the game.

Golden Opportunity

Of course, as with many things in life, the finest Bad Poker practitioners don’t need to think twice. Their Accidental Generosity™ is spontaneous, a gift of natural selection. And yet, still people ask me the question all the time (at least once a decade) “how does one attain the ineffable wisdom and status of the Bad Poker guru?”

I will tell you. Something. And that something is that there are numerous completely unteachable talents required to achieve the greatest heights of charitable poker playing. If you’re gonna force me to pick a standout quality though, I think the most important is undoubtedly a well developed, almost superhuman ability to interpret bad decisions as good ones.

A bulletproof 400% confidence that it’s always someone else’s fault is vital.

It goes without saying that one’s toughest opponent, and only real obstacle worthy of much attention, is the shuffling algorithm. Dutch keyboard pioneer Roosevelt Von Kapsloch invented the button which you now see on the left hand side of your keyboard in 1979, after being dealt irresistibly pretty suited hands 18 times in a row, causing him to lose the $20 heads up sit n’ go at Full Tilt he was playing at the time, and ruining the rest of his afternoon.

Since then, Bad Poker experts the world over have followed his example, regularly making loud, ALLCAPS-enhanced chatbox accusations of shuffling-for-maximum-profit conspiracies perpetrated by the poker rooms. This inspirational practice should be pursued vigorously.

If at any stage this becomes boring or your keyboard breaks, setbacks can of course always be blamed on your genetic makeup instead, or on your parental upbringing and the education system for making you much dumber than you would’ve been if it weren’t for their failings. But stray any further down this path, however, and you could come dangerously close to admitting imperfection in your decision-making, which could start a chain-reaction of intelligent, evidence-based reflection and improvement – a common slipup on the path to Bad Poker greatness.

Assuming you’re able to sidestep this pitfall, I have outlined below some thoroughly field-tested techniques which will blend seamlessly into any competent Artist’s playbook.

The Power Tilt

Upon losing 15% or more of your stack, bet the rest as soon as possible.

A fundamental discipline for every Bad Poker enthusiast is the ability to tilt sooner, faster and more blatantly than the rest of the table after any remotely significant loss.

When things don’t go your way, thoughts like “what if I’d done this…” or “maybe I could try that…” are needlessly self-deprecating and make no difference to what has happened. Instead, focus should be set firmly on getting back at the obliviously fluky opponents who clearly aren’t in the top 20% of players in the world when you unquestionably are.

Hand selection is crucial. The Power Tilt is a double-or-nothing attempt to out-idiot your opponents and pass on your aggravation to someone else by scoring a chance victory over them with a suitably pathetic starting hand — an [Ac][Qc] completely misses the point.

Not only will power tilting get your money back an astonishing 8-13% of the time, but the satisfaction of rivering trips with [Jd][2d] against some ignorant prat’s Queens outweighs the irritation of losing to such inept opposition by at least 94% every single time it happens.

Which makes the Power Tilt 107% effective. The maths is undeniable.

Tips: Be out of position. Consider typing out a generically offensive statement such as “STUPID FUCKING DORKS” before shoving to increase your chances of a call. Never be fooled by the so-called “logic” behind making a casual reload.

Obsessive Compulsive Calling Disorder or O.C.C.D.

If you’re 90% sure you’ve been drawn out on — call anyway to prove yourself right.

One of the best techniques for proving that any poker room of your choice is rigged, the “what the fuck for fuck sake I fucking knew it” call to end a hand you started out winning is another widely trained discipline amongst Bad Poker specialists.

Slow-playing your best hands into the toilet is an art form in its own right, but the full action — complete with hopeless river payoff and just the right combination of seething anger and loud expressions of injustice — can be perfected only with practice.

Poker hates everyone, but mostly you.

Backdoor straights, 4-on-the-board flushes, counterfeited 2 pairs — they’re all reminders of this fact, and they offer a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate to a bunch of people who probably don’t give a shit, that you are, in fact, the most cataclysmically unlucky poker player to ever walk the face of God’s green, crap-dealer-filled Earth.

Tips: Always go for the ingenious trapping manoeuvre and never let 4 suited cards put you off calling with a straight, trips or even two pair — these hands are not foldable.

Trans-Atlantic Tunnel Vision

Nothing is more important than the two cards in front of you.

People will often fold [Kd][Kh] just because an [As] flopped and someone is showing speed. They do this, they say, because in the long run it’s the “right” play. However, this attitude is obviously misguided because the hand isn’t happening in the long run, it’s happening now.

Such know-it-all decisions completely overlook the epic bluff scenarios you’ve built up in your head, the 4½% chance you still have of catching another King anyway, and the unlikely but still relevant possibility that your opponent might be overplaying kings as well.

It’s not whether to move in — it’s when.

Tips: Pay attention to nothing, and remember that other players’ actions and the cards in the middle are only there to distract you.

This concludes the lesson.

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